Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hardest Part of the Holidays...

... Is coming back to real life...

I spent my holidays split with my parents at Disney World and at work.  I was able to run a little bit around the Epcot resorts, which is something I always look forward to doing on my parent's visits.  The running was a bit tough because I was still a tad bit sore from the 13 miler last week and my stomach was more than full from all of the wonderful food we were eating.  I swear, I could almost start another blog all about the great food we were eating.

This morning was my return to "real" life and while it's my day off from work, I knew I had to get some kind of run in.  It took my almost an hour to convince myself to get out of bed and out onto the road, but I eventually did... well, after a quick change of clothes because it was a lot colder than expecting.

Todays run felt pretty good and it always seems that my best runs are the runs that I really don't want to do.  I didn't want to run at all before the 13 miler last week and it was a great run... I didn't want to run today, but I felt really good.  Still, I'm trying to relax a bit and then get a few medium runs in before the marathon.  I do have just about 2.5 weeks left!

So now I have a few holiday pounds to loose again, but it should be easier now that I'm cooking for myself again.  I might be dreaming about some of the dishes we had though for a while...

Friday, December 21, 2012

The More I Run...

My goal this week was to get over 11 miles done.  If I was able to do that, great.  If I was able to do more, even better!  If I was able to get to 18-20 miles, perfect!

So I might not have gotten to the 18-20 mile mark, but I did run more than 11.  I was able to get in 13.18 miles... just over the half marathon mark.  The best part, it felt better for longer.  Almost to mile 9 I was feeling pretty good with only a few small annoyances.  That's what I've decided most of my aches and pains are... annoyances.

The picture above came to mind during my run.  I was so impressed with how good I felt and how strong I was feeling.  I was so proud of myself, partially because the night before I was so tired and sick of running I wasn't even sure if I was going to get out there and do any of these longer runs.  The night before my run I was at one of my lowest lows about my feelings toward running... kind of like a runner's depression, but I got outside and I was able to run 13 miles!  So, so proud of myself.

I've realized my biggest issue is the lack of true strength training.  It's going to be on my focuses, I think, for next year and my next (shall I really say it?) marathon.  If anyone has any favorite circuits or routines for strength training for runners, I would love to hear them!

In other news, another reason I had to run yesterday... Christmas party!  I hosted my work's cookie exchange and white elephant.  The hard part was that I was on my feet for a majority of the day AFTER my run, but I did get to eat all these yummy cookies.  My red velvet cookies were a big hit and considering how addicting they are, I'm stopping by work today just to get them out of my house!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

1 Month To Go- Will I Ever Be Ready?

I've decided that I will probably never be ready for this marathon.  I had my so called long run today and ended up running 11 miles.  I could have run more, but I don't want to risk anymore injuries or knee issues.  I actually felt pretty decent on the run.  Tired and sore, definitely, but no major aches or pains.

My knee did start to hurt around mile 10, but then calmed down a short time later.  It's kind of like I hit my wall and my knee hits its own wall and it's all about over coming both of them.  I did push through some of the tiredness, but I couldn't beat it all...

I kept repeating this mantra in my head towards the end of my run and I'm sure it's going to become my anthem during the marathon.  It's going to be part of my mental plan to keep me going.  That whole 80% mental 20% physical saying... it's completely and utterly true.

The closer this marathon gets, the more and more nervous I get.  I do have a few friends running the race as well and one is having even worse knee problems and than me.  I figure that at the least, we'll pull each other across the finish line if it comes to it.

I was thinking for a little bit today while I was icing my knees and I realized... this is pretty similar to how I felt right before my first half marathon.  I was just as nervous, just as worried... Now about 2.5 years later, I love half's and while they will always be a challenge, I'm totally and utterly addicted.  Maybe that will happen with this marathon?  One can always think positive...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Year Goals Passed! New Goals Set...

I am proud to say that while I'm extremely frustrated with my training right now, I do have good news to report.  I have multiple long term goals that I'll probably have most of my life, but I also had a few goals that I wanted to meet during 2012.  Well, I'm proud to announce that not only did I hit both my goals and then some!

My two goals for 2012 were:

  • Run 450 Miles (10 miles per week average)
  • Run More Races!

As of today, I've run 522.68 miles!  By the end of the year I plan to be closer to 600 miles, but probably won't surpass it.  During the middle of the year I fell off track, but I chipped away at it every week and so now I'm way ahead of schedule.  Of course, that means I have to up my goal for next year.  So right now I just want to run more than 600 miles in 2013, but I might increase that to 650 or something else.  I'll reassess that towards the end of the year.

I've definitely run more races this year than I have in the past.  While I'll never compete as much as I did in high school when I spent every weekend one summer at swim meets, open water events, and triathlons, I have never run as many running events as I did this year.

While I didn't run the Disneyland Half Marathon, I did add the Tower of Terror 10 mile and Wine and Dine 1/2.  I'm planning on running the Reindeer Run again this year, but since it's a 5k, I don't really count it as a "race".  It will be nice to see how my times compare...  So that means this year I ran 3 races where last year I ran 2.  And next year?  I'm looking at 5!  The year after... 7!  I'm saying this now for my legs sake and my wallet's sake... 7 is my limit.

As for my long term goals... my nutrition has been improving all year although there are definitely days where I'm craving some greasy wonderfulness, but those days are getting farther and farther apart.  I'm cooking a lot more too which is nice.  I've definitely lost weight this year and I've been able to keep most of it off, although it has definitely been a battle.  Again, that's just going to be a life long battle which I'll never be able to let my guard down with.

Looking ahead my goals for 2013:

  • Run a Full Marathon
  • Get a PR for a Half Marathon (Disneyland Half?)
  • Run 600+ miles

If you want to see more goals I've already set for 2014 and beyond you can check out the goal page...

In other news, I ran 3 days straight this weekend.  Only ran just over 11 miles, but I'm pretty happy with them overall.  I might even get 2 or 3 miles in tomorrow morning... who knows...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not There Yet

I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be able to train like I'm really supposed to for this marathon.  I took the last few days off in order to prepare for a 23 mile run today and only got to 14 miles.  My knee just locked up and started grinding and it really made me start second guessing everything.

My biggest worry right now is that my knee will act up during the run which will cause me to walk a long way or even force me out of the race.  I'm hoping with the bio freeze spots and a few more weeks like this one, I'll be able to get my knee ready for the race.  If it gets bad enough that I can't finish, well then... they'll pull me kicking and screaming.

So far, this training has definitely been some of the hardest training I've ever done.  I don't think any of the test sets, training camps, or anything my coaches put me through with swimming adds up to the training this marathon is taking (don't tell my coaches of course...).  Currently I have no idea how people run marathons after swimming and biking... Ironmen (and women) is definitely the right name for those individuals and as always, they have my utmost respect.

Where my training will go after this... I don't know.  I think I might do my own thing for the next few weeks, rest before the race, and give the Disney World Marathon my all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Heart of An Athlete

Right before the Wine and Dine half marathon, when I was supposed to be "resting" I discovered some news that at the time I thought was Earth shattering, but has luckily been handled.  I found out that I had been wait listed for vacation time on the Sunday of the marathon.  They adjusted the rest of the week, but not the ONE day I needed.  My parents said I was over reacting, but at the time, all I saw was all my hard work going down the drain...

I knew my friends, family, and coworkers all knew how much this run meant to me.  Of course it's the 20th anniversary so that was a big deal, but it was also my very first full marathon.  That's something I never thought I would even consider doing and here I am actually getting excited about it!  So of course it was a huge disappointment that I wouldn't be able run.  I have literally put blood, sweat, and tears into my training and I could see it just evaporating into thin air. As weird as it was, it was like getting a broken heart and instead of it being over some boy (because men know better), it was over the race.  That's the heart of the athlete... Some call it dedication, others call it obsession, I call it love.
Now that I've calmed down and talked to my managers, I've been assured that one way or another, I will be getting that Sunday off.  Whether I trade the shift or get an authorized day off, I will be running in 2 months from today.  To say my stress level has fallen in the last few days is an understatement.

And yes, the marathon is in 2 months... 61 days... that's it!  I have 2 long runs left, a 23 miler and a 26 miler, but considering I've gotten my 20 miles in, I've relaxed in that sense too.  I do want to get at least 1 to 3 more 20+ miles in before the race, but we'll see how that goes.  I did read that since I did get to 20 miles I should be fine as long as I can keep my base up.

I really can't believe I ran 20 miles last week, but I did it and I'm extremely proud of myself.  It's interesting seeing just what I'm capable of, especially the things that I didn't think I would ever be able to do... like a marathon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hello Brick Wall- Wine and Dine Review

I want to start of by saying, yes running 7 miles before the half marathon probably wasn't one of my best ideas... actually it's probably somewhere around one of my worst ideas.

I had a lot of time to wait between when I parked my car and when the race started.  It was almost 3 hours in total, but luckily I had met up with some friends so we sat around and talked and stretched together.  I'm not going to lie, I was slightly jealous of the person who was able to fall asleep a few feet away from us...

The start was pretty typical of runDisney starts.  There was the nice archway you ran under and plenty of fireworks.  Actually, they had more fireworks than normal.  I was in Corral C and we had fireworks going off next to us for the first corral!  They also had high fireworks as well as the low ones around the start.  It was a pretty cool start from the fireworks perspective.

I was impressed that there was a character just after the first mile of the race.  When I got there, it was Goofy, but he soon left and was replaced by Chip and Dale.  Totally didn't mind, especially since I saw Goofy on my way back.

The run through Animal Kingdom (miles 3.5-6ish) was really cool.  They had a lot of animal based characters (Rafiki and Turk, Pluto, Fantasia Ostrich and Hippo...), but the coolest thing for me was seeing the Tree of Life lit up at night.  Tried to get a picture in front of it, but it didn't work out too well.

Between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, I really started getting tired and sore.  My calves started burning and my energy levels just plummeted.  I should have had gu or something like that, but alas, I didn't.  I've learned my lesson, trust me.

The course around and through Hollywood Studios was interesting conceptually.  Realistically, it was a little boring.  I knew what was coming up again (The Osbourne Lights) and that's what kept me going. You actually ran around the outside of the park on the main road leading to Magic Kingdom with cars speeding by.  I saw a few runners get close to the car lane and got a bit nervouse, but luckily nothing happened (at least when I was there).  You ran a lot backstage, but they did have Wreck-It-Ralph there to get pictures with!  It's nice they brought out a new character!

The Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is always on of my favorite holiday traditions.  I actually went on Thursday with my roommate to see them get turned on on the first night.  My suggestion, if you can get there at dusk and see them get turned on... that's where the magic is.  The lights and the magic and memories connected with them helped push me through the rest of the studios.

To get from the studios to Epcot, you actually ran past the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club resorts, which, funny enough, is actually my vacation run.  If it weren't for all the people crowding the sidewalk around me, I probably could have run it with my eyes closed.

The run in Epcot was pretty much a straight shot right to the finish.  You came into the park near Journey into Your Imagination and then headed straight out where they have most of the finishes.  I wish they had brought Figment out, but it was late and that area was crowded so I guess I understand...

It was great have the mass of spectators in the park though.  The cheering and peer pressure (don't want to stop that close to the finish in front of everyone) helped me get to the end.  Just after the 13 mile marker there was a laser show kind of making a roof for you to run through right before your turn into the finish line.  It was really cool...

Chef Mickey and Minnie were at the finish cheering us on and giving high fives.  I always wish I could take a picture with them, but I'm not selfish enough to steal them even for a second from the other runners who are finishing as well.  Plus they were at the pre-race area and I just passed it up because it looked like a hour or more wait.

Overall, the run went well.  The wall I hit at mile 6 and then again at mile 8 (which lasted me the rest of the run) was a pain, physically and emotionally.  I tried to alternate between walking and running, but it really was a compromise between my calves and legs hurting or feeling like I was going to throw up... I deal with physical pain better than getting sick so that also helped me run for a while.  That was my athlete's determination really coming into play... there was NO way I was going to pull out of the race and that's the mentality I kept.

What did I learn?  Not to run 7 miles before a half, although I do have that marathon coming up which will be 2 halves pushed together.  Also, bring food!  Whether its a banana, cliff bar, gu, or whatever... this was the first time I really realized how important that extra nutrition and electrolytes really are.

Now it's 2 months and 2 days till the full... what have I gotten myself into????

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Day Has Come

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon has finally arrived... or well will arrive at 10:00 tonight.  I personally star the race sometime around 10:10 as I'm in Corral C (as usual).

I was able to get to the expo yesterday between work and the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  They went back to the packet pick up in one building and the expo in the normal Jostens building.  It did help cut down on the clutter and mob that's typically at the packet pick up and expo.  They also create two official race merchandise areas so I was actually able to go in and get a shirt as well as one of the other pins.

At the expo itself, I was given my goodie bag which had my shirt in it and some of the other info pages.  I really do appreciate that runDisney has gone to a virtual goody bag and aren't giving you a ton of ads that you're just going to throw away.  So I guess in the past, they've given the party goers tickets for one or two food/drink samples, but this year they've given us a $10 gift card instead.  Whether or not we use it at the party... that's up to us.

As usual, the expo took quite a bit of my money, but they were really good buys.  1 "want" item and 2 "need" items.  I already have a "I Thought They Said Rum" shirt from One More Mile, but it was short sleeved and I wanted to wear it tonight... So I got the long sleeved version (The "want" item).  I also go a bright yellow reflective shirt and vest for running at night (The"need" items).  I've been running a lot at twilight times and I've run at night in the past.  I knew I needed some reflective gear, but had yet to find any... until yesterday of course.

I also got some of those energy gel blocks for training and a commemorative poster from the company that does the medal frames.  I've realized I'm probably going to stock up on all these posters if they keep doing it!

I was good and passed up a $46 dollar shirt that was awesome, but not $46 of awesomeness.  It was one of the glow in the dark villain shirts and the one I needed was the Captain Hook (one of my all time favorites... especially now that they've, um, modernized him in Once Upon A Time.

Now that race day has come, I'm ready... or at least I hope I am.  I got up and ran 7 miles this morning and it felt really, really good.  I'm not too sore and I feel like I can get this 13.1 miles in.  So that way I get my medal, pictures, and party and get my training caught up for the marathon since this week was supposed to be 20 miles.

Less than 8 hours now... check back tomorrow for updates.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eat To Run? Run To Eat? Less Than A Week!

The runDisney facebook page posed this question today for its followers:

 "Would You Rather: Share a three course meal at the Food & Wine Festival or share this 13.1 mile course at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon this weekend? Or both?"

Personally, it depends on the restaurant.  Three courses from Victoria and Alberts, Flying Fish, Citrico's, or any of my other favorite restaurants... definitely the 3 courses (usually more in all honesty). However, 3 courses from some of the others, I might just take the run.  Still, I live by the whole "Eat to Run, Run to Eat".  Eating keeps me fueled for running, and running keeps me from showing all those meals I have enjoyed, especially when my parents have been visiting.

Now the post did have a great addition, the course for this week's race.  It looks like a lot of fun with about 7 miles inside the parks.  I'm interested to see what they'll do on some of the long roadways/boring parts.  Hopefully it'll be a little bit more interesting than Tower of Terror's time on those roads.  We'll see in just a few short days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Slowly Catching Up

Considering all the candy I ate last night (thanks to the lack of trick-or-treaters), I really needed to stick to my plan and complete my long run this morning.  Now, I've been fighting my legs and all the different problems they seem to have for a while now, but I think we've finally come to an agreement (or at least a compromise).

Earlier this week I was able to get in a nice 5 mile run... it was one of my best feeling runs in a while.  It gave me hope in all honesty.

So this morning I was able to build on that 5 mile run and get in 9 miles.  I was debating 10 miles, but my legs were already burning, it was cold out, and I didn't want to push myself too far and create anymore issues.  Anyway, next week I have the Wine and Dine Half Marathon so that's when the real pushing will happen.  Next week I'm supposed to run 20 miles, probably won't happen but I've been playing with the idea to run 7 miles the morning of the half and then the half that evening which technically equals 20... right?

The great thing was that I only had 3 miles that were at a 10+ min pace, most were around 9:50 or below which got me really excited.  So maybe while my endurance was having issues, my strength and speed were actually improving, I just didn't see it.  I'm still nervous considering the marathon is just about 2 months away, but I know I'll finish it one way or another. Maybe I'll finish hard, maybe I'll crawl across the finish line, or maybe I'll stop in EPCOT on my last mile and cross the finish line with a few drinks... who knows, either way I'm finishing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Princess Half Marathon- 5th Anniversary Medal

Yesterday, runDisney finally premiered the medal for the 5th Princess Half Marathon.  During the Tower of Terror expo I was hanging around the medal area for a bit and heard quite a few people asking, quite excitedly, about the new medal, but the runDisney cast members were tight lipped, although equally excited about it.

I do agree with some comments that I've read that it's not as spectacular as the 20th anniversary marathon medal or the Tower of Terror medal, but it's still keeping true to the race and all of the other medals, something I can respect.  Yes it has more glitz, which every princess needs, and it stands out form the previous 4 tiara medals.

I do wish the years would be a bit more visible (2009 and 2013 are inscribed on the gold banner behind the 1.2 Marathon... yes it's hard to see...), but this is also just the 5th year!  In all honesty, Disneyland Half's 5th year medal probably could have been better (although not for me personally since it was my first ever).  I expect each anniversary to get better and better... I mean, look at the 20th anniversary medal... it took it 20 years to get to that!

Still, I'm excited to add this medal to my collection come February.  It will be one of the at 6 medals I'm planning on getting in 2013... in other words, 2013 is going to be a big, big year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

When I was back in California in July, I had gotten some new shoes.  I wore them for a while, but while running felt great, afterwards I could barely walk.  My IT band was absolutely killing me.  Being the naive runner I am, I just figured that it was me breaking in the shoes... How wrong I was.

I talked to one of the physical therapists that were at the Tower of Terror run and they pretty much hit the nail on the head without me saying all that much.  They brought up a few points that I had never thought about.  When I got the new shoes, they had put me on a treadmill and video taped me running. However, I was barefoot and not running all that long or fast.  So pretty much, the video picked up the extreme issues with my running, not the everyday issues.

So I got fitted for a stability shoe when I needed a neutral, which I had in the first place.  So pretty much, every time I ran, I was overcorrecting for issues that weren't really issues.  Now, I'm suffering for that.

The same physical therapist told me to get Asics Cumulus, which guess what... was my original (and favorite) shoe!  I quickly bought another pair and have been getting better ever since.  The recovery process has been slow, but luckily this week I've finally been able to walk for most of the day (not all, but most) correctly and without too much pain.  Still, my IT band isn't totally better and my endurance has been shot.

So yes, I'm worried right now.  I've been able to get the right shoes so I can jump back into training, but unfortunately I'm not back up to where I need to be.  My endurance is shot, but hopefully that will start building back up quickly.  The good news is my speed is still there.  In fact, I ran 7 miles today and the last mile can in under 10 min pace!  Not all of the miles were like that, but it was a nice note to finish on.

The marathon is in just under 3 months and I don't know if physically I'm truly ready for it.  Mentally, I'm ready to take it on.  Let's just hope that my mental determination is enough to get me through the race if I'm not able to get my training back on track.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Update- Weight Loss and Healthy Living

When I started running way back when, it was to build endurance for my swimming.  Now, it's been all about staying healthy and maintaining my fitness.

I'm happy to say that has definitely been happening.  It's weird seeing pictures from my swimming years, my first runs, and then now.  There has definitely been a change over there years, especially within 2012.  

Swimmer's have the big shoulders and arms, which I definitely had while I was swimming and even after.  Luckily now, I'm starting to thin out and my shoulders are starting to shrink a little bit.  As my dad says, I'm finally starting to lose my baby fat.  Bout time considering I'm in my early 20s.  

Since January, I've lost about 15 pounds and have been able to hold it.  I've gotten to that point where the numbers are staying the same (even though I'm eating what I want which is nice) and now its my body that's changing.  In the following pictures you can probably see that difference...

Disneyland Half Marathon 2010

Princess Half Marathon 2011

Princess Half Marathon- Feb 2012
Tower of Terror 10 Mile- September 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Resort Running

As it is Food and Wine season, I've been lucky enough to stay in the Epcot Resort area, The Boardwalk to be exact, for the last few days.  One of the reasons I was so excited to stay here is because I love running around this area.  Every Christmas I've run here and there's just a lot of memories connected to it.

I ran yesterday morning, as well as this morning, discovering where different sidewalks around the resorts go so I can expand my runs.  Right now I haven't done more than 3.6 mile around the area during this trip, but I think I've found some decently long loops.

This morning Hollywood Studios looked... magical.  Excuse the grainy picture, but I did take it on my phone...

Yesterday I watched Spaceship Earth disappear in fog, but I didn't get a picture of it.  Who knows what I might see tomorrow...

The sad part is tomorrow is our last day here, but considering I live close by, my friends and I might make a few early morning trips to some of the resorts for some runs, especially as the weather gets cooler.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Running Under The Moon- Tower of Terror 10 Mile

That is not a spotlight... that's the full moon that hung over the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race.  Can you say perfect timing?

I've never really hung out at the pre race areas before, but this time I did since I had different groups of friends to meet up with.  They had a few backdrops you could get pictures with and since I had plenty of time I took full advantage of them.  Here are just a few pics (and yes you could sign one of them).

The race itself started with the traditional fireworks at the entrance to Hollywood Studio's parking.  We had to be careful with a concrete divider in the center of the road and personally I would have moved the start past the divider, but then again, I'm sure runDisney had the logistical reasons to have it where it was.  As far as I can tell, no one got hurt there (or at least hopefully).

The mile markers all had villains on them (well one had Stitch and I don't count Stitch as a villain).  There were a few character stops along the way (pictures below), but they were far and few between.  There was just a lot of long stretches where there really wasn't much going on.  In fact, the first two miles were pretty dull until you got to Animal Kingdom.

One of the coolest parts was when we left Osceola Parkway and turned into ESPN Wide World of Sports.  There was a small trail we had to run on which really only fit maybe 4-5 runners wide.  So yes, it was a bit of a pain to run on, but it was themed perfectly.  There was spanish moss drooping from all of the trees, pirate decorations, and oversized bugs hung from the trees.  It was really cool to run through, one of the most memorable really.

We ran on the track (where the gravediggers were) and then around the Brave's training diamond.  Just like at the Disneyland Half, they projected our images onto the big screen.  However, this time they had a background where it looked like the runners were running out of a service elevator.

The run through Hollywood Studios went well.  You got to see most of the park, but of course that park isn't too big.  The finish line was backstage where you could see the Tower of Terror, but there weren't too many people around the finish.  Most were in the actual park.  There was a lot of walking to get back to the meeting area.  There was one volunteer who was yelling at runners to move back if they were waiting for friends/family to finish and if they weren't they had to keep running.  She wasn't very nice and definitely needed a bit of an attitude adjustment.

I wish I could tell you about the post run party, but I left pretty much straight away because I had to work only a few short hours later.  I will be attending the after party for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon so I'll be able to tell you all about that one...

Now, for some character photos:

My ending time with character stops: 1:55.14

My ending time without character stops: 1:42

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tower of Terror Mini Report

So this won't be my super long report with pictures and everything because I get to go work.  Yes, that's right... just barely 4.5 hours after I got home from what was an amazing night, I get to go to work... joy (sarcasm).

First, I want to say that my run last night was for my horse.  Not but a few hours earlier did we decide to put her down due to quality of life issues (her arthritis condition had gotten bad again).  Yes, I understand normally that you dedicate runs to people, but Willie was part of the family.  She'd been a part of the family since I was 8 and has taught me more about working with animals, hard work, and life than I think a lot of other contributing factors in my life has.

Now, for the run....

Holy crap was it hot.  Now this was the first time I had worn a costume and I didn't think it would be super hot, but it was.  I was burning up and I'm pretty sure I'm trashing the costume now.  O well, it had an interesting life...

Overall, the run was a lot of fun.  Not as many characters out which kind of disappointed me, but I figured they might have been at the after party which I didn't stay for.  I did get a few nice pictures with some villains which I'll post tonight.  I think the only one they probably really missed is the headless horseman, but I'll see him next week at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

I felt really, really strong in the run and only stopped for water and then characters for most of the run.  Between mile 7-9 I had a few more extra stops, but overall ran more than I really thought I would, and faster too!  It's going to be fun analyzing everything when I upload it to the Garmin Connect site.

So yes, check back tonight for a longer, more in depth review of the race and for some pictures!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Expos... Very Dangerous... For My Wallet

In just about 27(ish) hours, I'll be starting the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race.  Well, the race starts tomorrow, but the event as a whole has started.  Today was the kickoff of the race weekend.  The expo and race registration pick up started at noon and I was there, in line, and making friends just before 12.

The expo itself was about as big as the half marathon, but the whole thing is quite a bit smaller.  This year at Princess they had registration and race merchandise in one tent and then the expo in another.  The Tower of Terror (TOT) event had everything in one tent.  It made it super crowded and I didn't even dare try to get into any of the race merchandise.  They did talk about bringing extra spending cash to the race so maybe they'll have some stuff there tomorrow...

Goodie Bag

However, I did get my goodie bag and did do a bit of shopping.  Seriously, I need to be better about putting myself on a budget during expos...  In all honesty I didn't do too bad with my spending and I have plenty of money to cover what I did buy.  I just could see myself spending a lot more than I did if given the opportunity.  I am still very happy that runDisney has gone to the electronic goodie bag so you're not getting useless papers and flyers that you're never going to use.  Less paper in the trash and more trees standing tall...

My shopping spree...
One great thing they always have and I always have to check out is the medal table.  Most of the medals have already been given out (they don't have the new Princess yet... it WILL be changing for the 5th anniversary though!!), but they did have the medal I'll be earning tomorrow and I can tell you it is AWESOME.  They also have the marathon medal, which made me that much more excited to earn it in January!  Check it out...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tower of Terror Costume... Check!

All runDisney races are super costume friendly.  I actually believe part of the fun of the races is seeing what other people are wearing.  I've seen a girl who had tied Pascal from Tangled into her hair (she was Rapunzel), a man dressed in a head to toe costume as Cinderella (running with his wife and daughter), and numerous other awesome costumes.

While I have always enjoyed looking at all the costumes at the races, I have never actually worn one to a race.  The farthest I got was wearing the 2011 Princess Half Marathon mickey ears during the race.  For the 2012 Princess my friend and I tossed some ideas around, but nothing ever got done.  But that is changing...

Last Halloween I was Angelica from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

This year, I'm breaking out the costume not for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but instead of the Tower of Terror 10 Mile.  Yup, that's right, I'm finally going to wear a costume!

Considering I already have black capris and I'm not running in my wedge boots (they hurt enough walking around the Magic Kingdom that night), the lower half is going to be my normal running gear.  Luckily, it's already mostly in theme.  The top will be the same sans the sword (I know better to run with a pointy object, even if that pointy object is plastic).

Yes, there's still the chance of me backing out of wearing this costume and just wearing one of my awesome One More Mile shirts, but I will be trying to wear the costume and actually take part in the entire event, running and costumes both.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

1 Last Week

The weather is starting to cool down, it's officially the first day of fall, and there's only one more week until the villains take over the streets around Disney World.  That's right... 7 days from now I'll be lining up to start the 10 mile race...

I'm still not totally convinced about this whole night race thing.  I haven't decided how/what I'm going to eat that day considering I don't like to eat for hours and hours before I run, workout, or compete.  Trust me, it's always bothered my parents and my coaches that I refused to eat before triathlons and other races (and I would NEVER suggest doing it to anyone else... I know I should eat I just can't).

Within the next week I should have the technicalities all figured out and I should be ready to run (fingers crossed it will be a "good run" day).  I am looking forward to the race, and all the fun after.  I have a few friends running it and so we're planning on meeting up afterwards.  The only thing I'm not looking forward to... is working the day after.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Garmin Connect

So a fun part of having the Garmin Forerunner, is the fact I can link it up to the Garmin Connect website and analyze my run.  Yes, this was one aspect I had a bit of an issue setting up, but once I finally got the watch-computer-website to connect and start talking to each other, it's worked pretty smoothly.  

Once I finish a run, I just need to walk by my computer with the ANT+ stick in it and my watch on.  Then it takes a minute or two and uploads to the website.  While I have the map here blown out, it does get closer so you can see your route.  It was all the general information (distance, time, splits, etc...)

Personally, I've had a lot of fun with the heart rate information and the graphs.  Yes, there's nothing but a line on the elevation, but again, I live in Florida... it's flat.  You can definitely see where my walking times were (pretty even considering it's the Galloway plan) and even my heart rate somewhat follows.  What I'd actually love to figure out to do is place the heart rate info over the pace.  That could be cool to see.

I feel like I'm back in all of my science classes analyzing information. Just this time it's information about me and not plants, or ocean tides, or animals.

So yes, after having my watch for a few weeks, I'm still definitely enjoying the watch.  So far, it's been a good purchase (Thanks Dad).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Run To Eat, Eat to Run

Tonight I have a Food and Wine dinner at the Grand Floridian.  It'll be a multi-course meal paired with wines from Domain Serene.  I was lucky enough to go to a Domain Serene dinner last year at the Flying Fish at the Boardwalk and so I was super excited when I got the opportunity to go this year.

While I am excited for all of the wonderful food I'm going to get, I'm also well aware of the calories that I'll be eating today.  So, I decided to hit the high side of my conditioning runs today.  I ran for 45 minutes which equaled 4.51 miles with the Galloway plan.

The run overall felt really good and my watch worked really well.  I'm finally getting used to the pace being calculated a bit slower than my Nike+ app.  Since I start my runs early, before the sun comes up, I found that the light was easy to turn on and off to check my progress.  You just have to tap the Bezel with two fingers and the light comes on.  You touch it the same way again and it turns off or you wait a few seconds and it turns off on its own.

So now I've burned roughly 500 calories that I can give myself for the dinner tonight.  Yes, I'm well aware I'll still be going over my calorie intake today, but I think I can make an exception for this amazing dinner.  In all honesty, I went to another similar dinner last week (I worked it, but still got to eat), and I really didn't gain much.  I think it's because I'm probably getting better nutrients and better food than I normally eat...

Tomorrow I should have plenty of extra energy and calories to do a killer workout, right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Thoughts: Garmin Forerunner 410

I recently decided to make up my mind and bought the Garmin Forerunner 410.  I've had it for the last few days and have only just started to really explore what it can/cannot do.  These are my first reactions to the 410:

Watch Size- It is a bit big for me, but then again I have some pretty bony wrists so I was already expecting it to be a bit big.

Watch Set Up- Considering I do have a technical writing background and a minor in Professional Writing for Business Communications, I found a few flaws in their instruction manual.  You usually want to put the note about charging the watch first on the first page, it was on page 5 or 7.  Other than that, both the manual and the watch set up aren't too bad.  It has a bezel that you use to change options and the watch helps you get used to that.  It does get a bit frustrating at times, but I also find it kind of fun.

Accessories- The watch comes with a heart rate monitor, charger, and a wireless USB that connects the watch to the computer (pictured above).  The charger was cool because it came with different wall plugs which I recognized for at least the US and Europe.  While I don't have any immediate plans to travel over seas quite yet (Come on runDisney... Paris race soon???), I could definitely see how helpful the different wall plugs could be.

My heart rate monitor worked well on my first run and it was fun to see how my heart rate changed throughout the run.  I know my Dad has had some issues, but who knows why his isn't working quite well.  The only thing I don't like is that so far I haven't found a way to open up the strap so it's a but of a pain to open up.

The ANT+ USB device is small and I can see how I could lose it so I'm a bit nervous about that.  I'm trying to figure out a way to make sure it's always somewhere I know it will be or some how connect it to my keys or something like that.  Otherwise, the device itself is just a USB stick, nothing super special.

Garmin Connect- So the watch uses this ANT+ software to connect the watch to the server where you can log and analyze all of you runs.  This is what caused me the most pain while setting up the watch.  It took me a few days, multiple times uploading the software and playing with the watch to finally get it to connect.  After that, it was fun looking at all my stats (Although my dad is annoyed that my altitude didn't really change... that's what he gets for still living in CA).  Hopefully it will connect a bit easier after my next run.  Technically all you have to do is walk by your computer if the ANT+ is on and it will upload the info.  Should be cool if there are no more issues.

First Run Review-  Overall, the watch was fine on my first run.  I started it, was able to keep an eye on it, and it worked out well.  The one thing I'm going to either have to figure out how to change or get used to is the pace.  Right now, the pace shows the current average, not the current real-time pace like Nike+ used to.  Again, that should really be something I need to get used to or I might be able to change.

Current Feelings- I like it and hopefully I'll end up loving it soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Double Digits!!

I finally broke that double digit barrier for the first time since the Princess Half Marathon in February.  11 miles down, and I'm definitely thanking the Jeff Galloway plan.  This run/walk plan is helping make the training a bit more enjoyable than me trying to muscle my way through it.  This run was definitely a push, but in all honesty, it felt better than the 9 mile run.

That's not saying that everything was perfect.  I was definitely running up hill in the middle of the run, or at least it felt like that, but I got through it.  After the 8th mile, I definitely hit my stride again and the last few miles actually felt decent.  I was tired and I could tell I need to work on strengthening my quads some more, but I was able to make it.

The sunrise was really pretty though.  I started when the stars were out, the moon was shining and I finished when the sun was out and blaring.  One of these days I'll take a picture of the sunrise and sunset I see on my runs.  Part of my run goes around a lake and sunset and its reflection always takes my breath away (well that, and the huffing and puffing from running).

Determination definitely played a part in my run today.  Instead of me running straight out and back like I did on my 9 miler, I made a few loops around my house and the neighborhoods surrounding me.  This way, I didn't have to hold my water bottle for 11 miles, and I was able to get grapes and Powerade on my stops to help refuel me.  There were some doubts that I would be able to continue my run after coming into the house (Thanks Dad...), but I was definitely able to get back out.  Especially towards the end, I HAD to finish.  There was no option otherwise.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Corral A!!!!!

This was just the news I needed today.  I haven't been feeling well, but this evening I saw that the corral placements were up for the Tower of Terror.  I figured I was halfway in the pack like I normally am, but this time I was wrong.

I'm in Corral A!

Ok, yes, there are about 2500 bib numbers (which I assume means people) in Corral A, but still.  I'm usually in Corral C for these races, or even D.  So this is an amazing improvement and wonderful news.  It seems like the race is getting closer and closer and closer... O wait, that's because it is!

With all the improvements I've had in my running since February and my current training for the full Marathon, I'm planning on having an awesome race!

I was actually thinking about wearing some sort of variation on my pirate costume for the race, but I'm not completely sure yet.  I've never really been into costume running, but it is Halloween.  Of course, it depends on if I'm wearing that costume for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party.  I don't want it smelling like sweat if I wear it for the party...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Race Ethics: Medals

So I was skimming some of the disney boards and reading about the races coming up when I found an interesting thread.  It was all about being swept and getting a medal even if you didn't finish the race.

Now there was nothing that was concrete for recent runDisney races although it did sound like if you're swept they give you a medal anyway, they want to make everyone happy.  I understand Disney's point of view in doing so, but I also understand the issues coming from runners who have and have not finished.  One runner who was swept from the marathon part of the goofy race said she was offered the Mickey medal, but not the Goofy one even though she had completed the half the day before.

Personally, for Disney, I wish they would have some sort of participant medal and then a finisher medal.  Heck, in all honest I think the participant medal should be more like the 5k ones than the half/full marathon medals.  That way everyone gets something, but you distinguish between those who finished and those who didn't.  Kind of like when you're younger and everyone gets a participant ribbon, but those who win get place ribbons.

I am happy to see that relay participants are getting different medals for their efforts.  For me, that would be along the same lines as getting swept considering together the relayers finish the race, but individually they only run half.  They definitely deserve medals, just not the full marathon medal.

Now I know Disney has had issues with medals being swiped in the past and then sold on ebay.  One person had like 6 or 7 Princess medals a few years back and claimed none of their friends wanted them so they were selling them all.  They disappeared right after someone mentioned they notified Disney.  Apparently Disney lawyers scare people?  I understand some people might buy unwanted medals (although who doesn't want their medal?) for shadow boxes and what not, but to put it on a place where anyone can just buy it... that just seems wrong.

And the people who are buying medals that haven't actually run the race or were swept before the half way mark... well, I just know I would never be able to.

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.  If something happens and an injury occurs (happens more often than we would all like), well depending on where participant or finisher medals will definitely be needed.  This case was highlighted during and well after my first Half Marathon in 2010. I'm not going to ruin the story, just watch a youtube video here of the event.

On that note, I have less than a month now until the Tower of Terror race and I'm getting excited!  I have yet to really see any medal concepts or designs for the race, but considering they've revamped the whole thing... I'm just excited to see what they have in store for us!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Quickie, But A Goodie

My plan was to get a nice kickboxing workout in this morning and then relax till this evening when I have a Fantasy Football draft.  But alas, I ended up doing more.  I got a nice little 2 mile run in before kickboxing.

It was just enough to get warmed up and get any lactic acid or tightness in my legs to loosen up.  In all honesty, it's been one of my best feeling runs recently.  I think my newest shoes are finally on the verge of being completely broken in and I'm just feeling stronger.

It's also nice that the weather is finally cooling down.  I was able to wear my capris running pants and it wasn't too hot.  It was still early, but it would have already been hot and humid at that time a month ago.  I love my winter running gear so that's just exciting for me. 

So now I'm feeling good, ready to rest up and be prepared for this fantasy football draft tonight!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Running In A Hurricane

Ok, well it is still technically a Tropical Storm, but still TS Isaac is attempting to throw my running routine off balance.  Luckily for me, it's my conditioning week (3x 4 mile runs essentially), so I'm not super worried.  If I don't get out and run today, well there's always tomorrow which can fit into my schedule just fine.

I'm tempted to run this afternoon, when things will start to calm down just to say I ran in the storm.  I don't know why, but I've been having fun running in storms this summer.  So far there haven't been any close lightening storms while I've been running, but they're fun to watch and it gets your mind off your distance for a while.

This storm is apparently only bringing us winds that would rival the Santa Ana winds I grew up with (and swam/ran with growing up).  I know I could get some sort of a run in them.  Then you add the rain and I'll consider putting on some of my winter running gear...

I have all day to wait and think about it.  I'm just happy Isaac isn't hitting us during one of my long run weeks or days.  Running 11+ miles in a hurricane, ya I'll avoid that one.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Determination... I finally found it.

My days have been up and down recently, but one constant I've had is looking forward to the 9 mile run I had scheduled for today.  It was a mixture of excitement and nerves because I wasn't sure if I was completely ready for it, but it was also my first true run on the Galloway plan.

Overall, the run went well.  Around mile 6 I started to die, but I just kept pushing.  Yes I walked a bit more than the Galloway plan instructed, but I just wanted to get to mile 9.  I had decided that no matter what, no matter if I had to walk to the 9 mile mark or not, I was going to finish.  In 1 hour and 33 minutes I was able to finish the 9 miles and I felt pretty decent about the time.

Was I completely prepared?  No.  But that's where determination came into it.  I might not have been in the best endurance shape for the run, but I wasn't going to let that throw me off my training plan.  Plus now, I have a nice week of conditioning.  I'm anxious for the rest of the training and the marathon in general, but I think part of it is also nerves from knowing that this is going to be one of the hardest training plans I've ever taken on...

After a run that I thought would have me confined to the couch or bed today, I actually got to the store (preparing for TS Isaac), and made lunch (Chicken curry sandwich), made dinner (Tortilla soup), and made cupcakes (Chocolate Strawberry cupcakes to be exact).  I got laundry done and cleaned the kitchen multiple times so I'm saying that today was a pretty good day.

Now, I just need to find people to eat these cupcakes...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

GPS Watches

I've been looking ahead at my training schedule and I've realized that I'm pretty sure my iphone isn't going to last some of these longer runs.  It barely lasts to 12 miles in the half marathons, but then again I'm usually texting, changing songs, and using a ton of apps at the same time.  Still, I've decided to start looking at some GPS enabled watches to use on my longer runs.

I've been surfing the web and looking at reviews, but the problem with reviews is you get a mix of good and bad and it always seems like the reviews are so mixed that it might as well be a toss up.  Maybe I'll get a great watch that will work wonderfully, maybe I'll get a shitty watch that I'll be constantly fighting with.

I had the good and the bad in one of my old watches, a Polar (can't remember the model number).  The heart rate monitor aspect was great.  The timing aspect was great (when are they not?), but the GPS unit was blocky and never calibrated correctly.  It was a pain in the ass pretty much.  I think it told me I ran 3 miles when I really ran 1 mile once... That threw up the red flag.

I've been leaning toward the Nike+ considering I already use the Nike+ app on my cell phone.  I am tracking the year's mileage on an excel sheet, but I have over 500 miles logged on Nike+.  In fact, in the next 70 or so miles I'll finally be leveling up!  So as you can see it's hard for me to completely let it go.  Still, I've seen spectacular reviews and then I've seen reviews where people have returned multiple devices so I'm just not sure.

It does get frustrating looking through reviews and I'm at that point where I'm just not sure where to turn.  I've reached out to some fellow runners, one of whom I really respect, and I'm hoping to get some suggestions from then.  I'm also reaching out to you guys... do any of you have any suggestions about watches?  Not looking for anything super fancy and I would love to keep it on the more financially reasonable side.

Yup, It's Still Hot

I made the mistake of taking my time before heading out on my run this morning and I paid for it within my first few steps.  I felt lethargic and hot and just not good.  I hate to admit it, but I almost immediately started to talk myself into cutting my run short.

If I stopped at 2 miles I'd run another two this evening or I'd run 4 tomorrow... If I do 3 miles then I'll just run tomorrow after work...  However, I had 2 things helping me get to the 4.25 miles I needed to run today.

First, I had the Galloway plan.  I used his run/walk plan and it really helped me make sure I never became super fatigued.  It also gave me some rest to look forward to and my running pace managed to stay around the same.

Second, I had my handy dandy Nike+ app going on my phone.  I had set a 4 mile goal so my phone kept helping my count down.  I was definitely considering stopping just after mile 3, but when that monotone robotic voice came on to tell me "1 More Mile Left", well I knew I could do it so I kept on running, instead of heading home.

Now 4 miles is usually my first wall.  It's where I finally get really warmed up and I start feeling better after 4 miles.  I get into my groove I guess you could say.  The last .25 felt pretty good and I even turned around and had a nice walk to cool down after the run.

It's funny how some runs can start off terrible and end up pretty nice.  I guess it's really true that I would have regretted it if I had stopped earlier than I had planned on (and I'll totally admit to the fact I more than likely wouldn't have run tonight or tomorrow) and I'm happy I did get through the complete run.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

20th Anniversary Marathon Medal Revealed

Donald couldn't run forever (although it seems like some of us can) and he was eventually caught by Mickey, Goofy, the runDisney team and fans.  First, they revealed his half marathon medal, which made Donald happy so he gave back the plans for Mickey's medal.

So what am I running for?  What are some of you running for?


I liked this picture of the medal because the quote also really resonates with me.  It all started with a dream, then you add some hard work, and eventually you can reach any goal.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another Hard Run... Totally My Fault

This morning I hit the road again, not quite sure how far I was really going to go.  As much as I would love to say it was a great run, it definitely was not.  My shins hurt, my knees hurt, and I just felt like crap.

Now where the physical pains are coming from, who knows, but probably the fact I've switched completely over to my new shoes.  Hopefully they'll be gone soon enough.

However, my energy level was low and I take full responsibility for that.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the best lunch at work yesterday and it didn't make me feel well the rest of the day.  Since my stomach wasn't settling, I didn't really have dinner (Ok I didn't have dinner, I had green tea and banana chips).  Thus, this morning I had less energy than usual.

I know nutrition is important.  I know water is important.  Yet, I always find myself falling back into my same old patterns.  While generally my diet and habits are better, every once in a while I fall and it's almost immediately I'm reminded why I have to continue eating and drinking right.

So hopefully next week I'll start feeling better and I'll be able to get some more great runs in...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In That Mood

I'm in that mood that we all know of and tend to look forward to.  The mood where you can go out and get a decent run in and then you still want to work out.

In all honesty, I started today with a plan, but when do plans ever work out?  It's unfortunately too true with my life.  I was going to run and then spend the day with a friend who is moving soon.  Then yesterday I found out I had to get some stuff done with my car early this morning.  I thought I was going to have to cut my run short, but luckily I was able to get a nice 5 mile run in.

Then I was supposed to spend the rest of the day with my friend, ya, that's not happening now either.  In fact, I'm thinking a nap very soon sounds like an excellent plan.  Then I'm thinking about doing another 20min circuit workout like the one I did yesterday.  

Other than my knee being super tight (which it has been all week), today has felt good and I can't believe I'm seriously considering working out again.  I guess we can say, I'm feeling inspired. I'm going to use this time to my advantage.  I know the time will come where I don't want to do anything and that time is probably coming faster than I'd like to admit.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Donald's Causing Trouble Again...

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is celebrating it's 20th anniversary in 2013.  We've already seen the updated race course, which you can get a refresher here.  They had the new medal design ready for its big reveal, but it's been stolen.  Here's the news release from runDisney's facebook page:

So as you can see, Donald's yet again causing quite a bit of trouble.  Of course runDisney has asked it's facebook fans to help find donald in all the different places he's trying to run off to.  Here's a picture from one of my favorite place's he's been spotted at so far:

If you want to see the medal soon, check out runDisney's facebook page and follow the instructions on how you can help them catch Donald and get the plans back.

Of course next year they should probably tell Donald that they've designed his medal before he gets into more trouble.  Or maybe Goofy will play with the medal plans next year?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tower of Terror Reminder- 2 Months To Go

This evening I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from runDisney about the Tower of Terror 10 Mile.

In all honesty, it was mostly an ad for the hotel, after race party, and a few other things, which I pretty much ignored.  It did have the link to the galloway plans, but my training is going decently well (except for the heat) for this race so I'm not too worried about the Galloway plans.  There was also a little tid bit about the Food and Wine festival.  I totally forgot that the festival was starting just about the same time as the race (my parents would be disappointed considering F&W is one of the events we look forward to and plan for).

The email did have one semi-important reminder... the race itself is 2 months out.  That means I have 2 months to finish getting in a good zone and feeling good.  I've already asked for my days off to be altered around the race (ok, I'm working the day of, just not the day after).

If I had to, I could totally run the race now.  I might not feel my best, but I could do it.  Actually, considering I've been running some of my fastest runs as of late, it wouldn't be that bad of an idea...